Racing New South Wales stewards announced this afternoon that they have granted permission for Brenton Avdulla, Tim Clark and Jim Cassidy to all ride half a kilogram overweight in the 2015 Sydney Cup at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Avdulla has been booked to ride Darren Weir-trained Akzar in the Sydney Cup and the veteran stayer will now carry 52.5 kilograms when he steps up to 3200 metres for the first time since he finished tenth behind Ibicenco in the 2012 edition of the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m).
Akzar has not recorded a race win this preparation, but he has performed well in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14, the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28, the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 and the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on March 28.
Tim Clark will take the ride on Renew, replacing Chris Symons who cannot make the weight, and has also been granted permission to ride at 52 and a half kilograms in the Group 1 event.
Renew is a 3200 metres specialist and he recorded his only win in Australia over that trip in the Sandown Cup during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival and he finished gallant third behind Tanby and Taiyoo in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) at Morphettville on March 9.
The Dansili gelding failed to fire in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m), but trainer Archie Alexander is confident that the imported stayer will relish the step-up to 3200 metres in the Sydney Cup this weekend.
Jim Cassidy first won the Sydney Cup in 1986 when he steered Marooned to victory and he will have the chance to record his third win in the time-honored race when he rides Grand Marshall on Saturday.
Grand Marshal will be stepping up to 3200 metres for the first time in his racing career, but he beat Renew to take out the Visit Victoria Plate (2800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day with Cassidy on his back.
The five-year-old has performed well without winning in both the Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 and the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Royal Randwick on April 6 and has been one of the best-backed runners in early Sydney Cup betting markets.
Akzar is currently available at 2015 Sydney Cup odds of $26, while Renew and Grand Marshal are both priced at a quote of $31 to score an upset winner in the Group 1 event.